The Hudson River runs up the west side of the island of Manhattan. By walking up the river or taking a cruise down into the harbor, you can see great memories of a New York past in the old piers, the rising spirit of the Freedom Tower, or the natural beauty of the bluffs on the shore of New Jersey beyond. It’s a must do in New York City.
New York City is a place of incredible color. The one color in particular I always associate with the city more than any other is blue. I look up and see a glorious reflection of the sky off of the glass of the buildings or off of a simple rain puddle on 8th Avenue. The city is wrapped up in blue, just take a look around.
Take a moment. Step back and think. How does a city the size of New York City function? Only through the hard work of those that fix the streets, collect the trash, clean the streets, work on the tugboats and barges on the river. Through the dedication of those that work the midnight shift so that when we wake up in the morning our city is all the more perfect. Without out any filters or fancy photography tricks this is the first of many journals I plan to post in their honor.
I love the variety of neighborhoods in New York City. Walk a few blocks and you can go from Little Italy to Chinatown. From Koreatown to the Garment District. In the upcoming weeks I will be spotlighting in photographs the mosaic of communities that make up New York. They will not be advertisements or real estate agent walking tours. Rather they will be what the communities look like from the street level. As if you took a stroll and simply looked around. The point is to draw the flavor out from what that neighborhood has to offer from the average point of view in every day life.
The first in this series is Sutton Place. A very small neighborhood on the east side of Manhattan. Sutton Place and Sutton Place South run from 53rd Street to 59th Street. It’s as far east as you can go on the island of Manhattan at that point. The numerous cul de sac parks offer sweeping views of the East River and Roosevelt Island, as well as the Queensboro Bridge.
Sutton Place is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in all of New York City. The wealth is evident from the attentive doormen of the high rise apartments and the clothes of the women walking around on a sunny day.
It is a beautiful yet exclusive part of the city that certainly adds to the character of all New York.
As the sun goes down over New York you can feel a change coming over the city. It’s not that the city awakens because as we all know, it never truly sleeps. It’s more like a mood change. If you put a soundtrack to it, it wouldn’t be a full symphony orchestra or an operatic aria. It would a lone whining saxophone filling the gray night air (think an abstraction from The Love Supreme); much different than the frantic piano piece of the hectic work day. (think Flight of the Bumble Bee) It’s the sound of the endless possibility of victory, defeat, or both. When the night falls over New York City anything can happen and usually does.
William Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances…” If the world is truly a stage then the people of New York City are at the very center of it. The human story that unfolds here daily is so rife with drama that it fairly swallows you up as soon as you leave your front door to wade into it. As shown here, just by going a few blocks in any direction you can encounter: creativity, romance, sadness, ingenuity, desperation, heroism, despair, and solemn determination. Each New Yorker contributing an equal amount to City’s story. Walt Whitman summed it up best by saying, “The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
The Subway. It’s not the Underground. It’s not the Metro. And it’s not just any ordinary train ride in New York City. It can be stinky, crowded, noisy, sweltering hot or all of the above at any one time. Ask any New Yorker and you will probably get just as many that hate it, as love it. Since its inception in 1869, its hundreds of miles of tracks have stretched under the city like a web of veins carrying the people, who are the life blood of New York.
New York City is like a gorgeous woman. She flashes her incredible figure that anyone can see from miles away. The spires and towers gleaming skywards are unmatched in their beauty. People come from the world over to gaze upon them and they never leave unimpressed.
However, it’s the intimate late night conversations with her that truly reveal her soul. In order to get as close as you can to her beating heart, you don’t climb to the top of the tallest building; you get as close to ground as you possibly can. You address her in the stillness of the night and listen to the sound of 8 million souls breathing. It’s in the rare moments of solitude that you find out who and what she is.
To capture the people of New York City in photos is to indeed document the very soul of the most complex yet beautiful places in the world. The 2011 Census estimates there are 8,244,910 people and 800 languages spoken in New York City. Ask each individual what New York City means to them and you will probably receive 8,244,910 different answers in whatever of the 800 languages they are speaking. There is no more unique place on Earth and that uniqueness comes from the people here.
It’s easy enough to see that the city is not only made up of people, but the experience of life here is made up of their moments.
The magic of New York City in the snow is too enticing for any one with a camera to miss. During some recent flurries I grabbed my cameras and headed from my apartment on 55th Street over to 7th Avenue and then up and over to Central Park. The giant flakes made for phenomenal texture. It was amazing to see the city functioning in the midst of this beautiful atmosphere.